Dance Marathon 12

Dance Marathon 12 presented some interesting challenges and opportunities for growth. The biggest challenge was the construction at the IMU. For the first time we had to move the Big Event out of the Main Lounge. Moving to the Second Floor Ballroom displaced our Family Room and pretty much any other set up previously used. Erin Hagerstrom, our facilities director worked very closely with the IMU staff, the various committee directors, exec team and most important our Event Director Ashly Brown to create an event that didn’t feel lacking in any way, even though the set-up was very much different than Dance Marathons past.

Our biggest worry was capacity issues and fire code. We wanted to increase the tote board numbers which meant trying to increase the number of dancers. We also wanted to re-focus on the value and importance of the dancers. We began using the phrase “once a dancer, always a dancer” informally that year. Travis Bushaw led the charge as Morale Director to develop a group of compassionate, energetic, and motivating Morale Captains and Assistants to create the dancer experience that year. We also made many plans logistically to make sure the dancers were able to interact with the families despite the challenges the facilities posed for us that year for allowing families to be in the ballroom.

Brecka Putnam worked tirelessly to ensure the families had an exceptional experience. This was year two of making some changes to create a more sustainable family program and that already had presented challenges outside the logistics of getting all of the families into the IMU in a meaningful way. The Family Relations committees created two wildly successful family rooms including a room sponsored by Best Buy with all sorts of amazing gaming and technology for the older kids. They also planned and perfected introductions of the families in order for them to be a part of the opening ceremony without breaking fire code. We began accepting applications for family speakers and added several more speaking opportunities throughout the night.

Along with changes to our family program, other administrative changes took place to make sure Dance Marathon remained a student organization but also had the capacity to grow as the large non-profit we envisioned. Some changes were noticed and others were not. Adding to the clean up and streamlining of processes over the year before and the current year, our marketing director Michael Hubbard created consistent Dance Marathon branding along with the color selection of lime green, which as we know remains very much a part of the University of Iowa Dance Marathon brand.